Pixar’s Toy Story prequel (we’re not even sure if that’s what it is, but let’s stick with it) Lightyear certainly had a mixed reception when it came out in the Summer of 2022. However, most people agree that its most successful elements were the smaller supporting characters – mainly Sox the cat robot, as well as DERIC; the robot who enthusiastically gives the Universal Protection Unit directions.
As can be seen from one of the best Pixar movies Wall:E, one thing they can really deliver on is a robot who tugs on the heart-strings. While DERIC didn’t get as much screen-time as he should have, he carried out his duties diligently and relentlessly until Buzz callously abandoned him.
While DERIC could have been afforded more respect by the Lightyear filmmakers, they did give him a fun Easter egg that comes from an unexpected source. Janette Goldstein’s Private Vasquez is a fan-favourite character from James Cameron’s celebrated 1986 sequel to Ridley Scott’s Alien (1979). And clearly Lightyear director Angus MacLane, or one of its five writers, wanted to pay homage to the heroic marine.
An eagle-eyed reddit user has spotted that an inscription scrawled on the front of DERIC, in what looks like chalk, matches an inscription on Vasquez’s armour exactly – including the handwriting. The motto reads: El riesgo siempre vive, which translates as “the risk always lives.”
Toy Story writer Andrew Stanton provided additional screenplay material for Lightyear, as well as writing Pixar classics Monsters Inc, Finding Nemo, and the aforementioned Wall:E. This little detail feels like something that might have come from him, but this is just speculation of course.
While Lightyear may not be the most successful of Pixar movies, it did get a theatrical release, which gives hope that future work from the animation powerhouse won’t go straight to Disney Plus.
Check out our guide to the best animated movies.